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Study finds women catch up with men in drinking alcohol

Published 25 October 2016

A new research has found that women are catching up with men on their alcohol consumption and its impact on their health.

Research by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, said taht the trend, known as ‘sex convergence’, is most evident among young adults.

Historically, alcohol consumption and abuse has been associated mainly with men, but for the first time, it seems that this has changed. The study observed the historic habits of about 4 million people around the world over a 100 year time scale.

The change is being attributed to marketing campaigns, price cuts and production of sweeter alcoholic products to appeal young women and girls seem to have a major hand in this trend. The study has even suggested that young women could out-do men, in terms of drinking.

The team which consisted of Tim Slade, Cath Chapman, Wendy Swift, Katherine Keyes, Zoe Tonks and Maree Teesson from the UNSW, looked at the male and female drinking habits between 1891 and 2014 and has used results from over 68 international studies published since 1980, to statistically derive numbers over the years.

The study found that men between 1891 and 1910 had twice as much alcohol than women and three times at risk of transforming it into a serious and problematic issue. While, young men aged between 16 and 25 are 1.2 times more likely than women to have serious alcohol abuse problem.

Young women aged between 15 and 19 were three times more likely than boys of that age to be admitted in Accidents and Emergency (A&E) for alcohol poisoning between 2013 and 2014.

Women in their 60s to be treated with alcoholism in the past five years, has gone up by about 65%, the study found.

The study concluded by saying that for many years, alcohol abuse problem was associated with men. But, the present results show an immediate need to prevent alcohol use and bring in intervention programmes, targeted for young women in particular.

As the present female drinkers fall in the age group between 15 and 25 years and given these are early years of their life, concentrated efforts must be made to reduce the impact of substance abuse and related harms.